Meanings are not determined by situations, but we determine ourselves by the meanings we give to situations.Alfred Adler, Austrian psychotherapist, 1870-1937
Alfred Adler was a courageous man who dared to take a path tangential to that of Sigmund Freud. He said that we are what we choose to make of our situation, here and now! This is a recurring theme this week. Courage!
Much of what we do is traced back to childhood but that is the origin, not the precursor to the future. For example if we catch a cold, just knowing where it came from does not cure it. Childhood is not accountable for what we allow to happen with ourselves in adult life.
We are a sum of our experiences and consequent individual actions. Ouch!
However, childhood patterns of repressed and unacknowledged feelings can create difficulty in recognizing emotions even as adults.
Lately, I find that after years of trying, I am now aware of my daily or weekly feeling, at least. The aim is to have have moment to moment awareness so that we can make sense of what we feel when we feel it and why.
This week, it has been sadness. Sadness is an underrated and under-appreciated emotion. I was reminded of this Disney masterpiece called Inside Out! It is an absolute must watch. For those of you who think ” Animated films are for kids!!” Think again! I know grown-ups who cried watching Lion King! 😭 It is amazing when someone is able to articulate complicated emotions in an uncomplicated, easy to understand and perhaps even entertaining manner in the form of film, book or rhymes. Bravo, Disney! This film very beautifully addresses all our individual feelings including the importance of Sadness.
Sadness is something we try our best to avoid feeling, naturally and find ways to get rid of it immediately. Others try to help us get over it asap too. It makes everyone uncomfortable.
The truth is that it is as much a valid emotion as any and deserves it’s space and time. Nothing is permanent, not even the saddest feeling. It may be better if we try to recognize it, acknowledge it and let it pass.
I was going through my diary the other day and came across a string of poems from a few years ago. It hurt me to realize the amount of pain I may have been in while I wrote it. (Remember, we are all time travelers. We can go back to the future while over-flying the past in a matter of seconds even without a time-machine!!). Writing must have been my attempt to get rid of that feeling. The question of ‘why this was happening to me?’ was debilitating.
Like Adler said, knowing the why does not cure the problem. It is what we choose to do with the feeling that counts. It was wise to pour the feeling into words because otherwise I would never have remembered the pain I had felt. Our minds are wired to block it out. That is how women are able to have multiple babies. If they remembered the pain, they would never go through it again!!
Of course, with the power of hindsight, we all feel differently. I was like “What was I thinking?” Almost like seeing an old picture and saying “OMG! What was I wearing, doing, saying, look at the hair!!!” What I did with that feeling is what matters the most.
I am happy to report that I have developed capacity to accommodate mixed feelings and endure negative ones as I focus to stay in the Here and Now, avoiding time travel 😉 If I go by my new found crush, Mr. Adler’s words, I have found Courage! Phew! It took courage to say that too. Book recommendation for you, The Courage to be Disliked. Based on the Alfred’s 😉philosophy!!!
I leave you with a few things to ponder over. My abovementioned poem, a fun activity and the link to the film, Inside out! It’s a “mixed bag!” Enjoy. Until next time…@thethinkingcaptain
Wounded! I'm like a wounded cat, protecting it's pride. Trying to remember the time, When things last felt right. I guard my damaged soul With all the might I can find. My battered sense of self Is ready to stand up and fight. I take a look around me And see many many more of me. Bigger, bolder and full of fervor, I am enough for me. I'm on the way to redemption. It's a start to recovery. I'm on the path that found me, There is hope for me.